PODCAST: Former Bears Talk 2004 Revenge
LISTEN TO PART 1 OF THE BEAR REPUBLIC PODCAST WITH LORENZO ALEXANDER HERE.
LISTEN TO PART 2 OF THE BEAR REPUBLIC PODCAST WITH J.J. ARRINGTON HERE.
SAN FRANCISCO -- Joining us at The Republic this week are some of the stars from the 2004-05 California football team that was relegated to the Holiday Bowl after the politicking of Texas head coach Mack Brown.
We have safety Donnie McCleskey, a second-team All-Pac-10 selection as a senior in 2005 and a preseason third-team All-American before the fateful 2004-05 season. McCleskey was also an All-Pac-10 first-teamer in 2003, breaking the Bears' defensive back record for tackles (102) and leading all conference DBs in total tackles, sacks and tackles for loss. McCleskey dishes on the details of that fateful day when the Bears learned that they would not be going to Pasadena, and also speaks on the disappointment during the week of the 2004 Holiday Bowl week in our first segment.
Also joining us live is wide receiver Chase Lyman. In the 2003 Insight Bowl, he filled in for an injured Geoff McArthur and caught five passes for a career-high 149 yards and one touchdown against Virginia Tech. His 149 yards against the Hokies set a school bowl game record and was the third-most receiving yards in the 15-year history of the Insight Bowl. Lyman was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the fourth round of the 2005 NFL Draft, after running a 4.46 40-yard dash time at the NFL combine. A relentless worker, Lyman has a unique take on the types of athletes that Cal is and should be recruiting, as well as the methods of head coach Jeff Tedford.
In our first segment, Lorenzo Alexander -- who played in the first ever U.S. Army All-American Bowl in 2000 - joins his two old teammates and the rest of the Bear Republic crew to talk about his memories from the 2004 season, as well as some off-the-field hijinks. Alexander started his career as a defensive tackle at Cal, and was a senior on the 2004-05 team. Alexander was a two-time honorable mention All-Pac-10 defender before signing with the Carolina Panthers in 2005 as an undrafted free agent. Alexander's first three seasons in the NFL saw him move from special teams to reserve interior defensive lineman to offensive guard and tight end before finally settling in at outside linebacker. As a member of the Washington Redskins, Alexander was named the Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2010.
In our second segment, we're joined by tailback star J.J. Arrington, who ran for 2,018 yards in his only season as a starter for the Bears -- that fateful 2004 campaign.
Arrington had one of the greatest seasons ever for a collegiate tailback, and became just the second Pac-10 tailback to gain over 2,000 yards, joining USC legend Marcus Allen. Despite the 10th-best total in NCAA history, he would not be invited to New York for the Heisman Trophy Award ceremony despite having a better statistical year than the No. 2 vote-getter, Adrian Peterson. Arrington was drafted in the second round by the Arizona Cardinals of the NFL in 2005, and in Super Bowl XLIII, he caught two passes for 35 yards and became the team's primary kick returner. After undergoing microfracture surgery on his right knee in 2009, Arrington was traded from the Denver Broncos to the Philadelphia Eagles, but was waived on Sept. 3, 2010. He is currently working out in Arizona to get ready for another crack at the NFL.